Saturday, June 16, 2012

50 Years in Cards: 1975

Part 14 of our 50-year plan to repurpose the Iron Triangle...

What is it: 1975 Topps #264, John Milner

What makes it interesting: Color! The '75s, one of Topps most memorable issues, are loaded with them. The two-toned cards featured a different color combination for just about every card, making the set both unique and condition-sensitive.

Sideburns! Milner sported a great pair of those, probably among the best in Mets History (unlike other teams, the Mets don't seem to have much of a tradition with facial hair, Keith Hernandez notwithstanding). Additionally, Milner was a real power prospect when he debuted with the Mets in '71, something that the Mets generally were not known for. Although he could hit a baseball as far as anyone in the era (and his nickname, "The Hammer" was a nod to his boyhood idol Henry Aaron), Milner was often the subject of frustration and unfulfilled potential, chasing that breakout season that never seemed to come. Nonetheless, he led the Mets in Home Runs in '72, '73 and '74, and tied for the team lead in '77, although his career high was only 23 HRs. His total in '77 was only 12, netting him a 3-way tie with Steve Henderson and John Stearns. By that time, management had tired of Milner, despite his presence on the Pennant Winning team of '73, the team was being broken down and Milner was sent to Pittsburgh in a bizarre 4-team deal. Milner would go on to win a World Series Championship as a reserve player for the Pirates in '79. He was, then, mostly lost in the history books until his untimely passing at age 51 in 2000.

Card back:

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